Raising a whole new generation of Dads: Buckner project aims to help fathers become better parents:

Sean Goram-Welch, fatherhood educator with Buckner Child and Family Services Project HOPES, said most people “don’t know exactly how to be a parent.”

“We have certain knowledge that we’ve picked up along the way, but no one’s ever sat down with most of us and said ‘Hey, this is what it looks like to be a father and here’s how you do this,’ ” said Goram-Welch, who teaches the weekly class. “Too many times, (fathers) are just known as the check writers. We provide, and that’s all we do, and so we don’t really get to learn how to interact with our children.”

Buckner Project HOPES is an initiative with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to serve children and families in at-risk situations.

In 2013, the department ranked Gregg County third-highest in the state for being at risk for family violence, teen pregnancy and early substance abuse.

“Part of the reason we were granted the program is because Gregg County has a higher percentage of child abuse, one of the highest in the state,” Goram-Welch said. “And one of the specific risk factors that put a child at risk for abuse is if they don’t have a father who is active and engaged in their life.”